On November 13, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee issued a travel advisory for Washington State recommending a 14-day quarantine for all persons entering the state and encouraging residents to stay close to home.
In May 2019, Washington enacted restrictions on noncompetition covenants, which we wrote about in our article, “Washington State Governor Signs Legislation Restricting Noncompetition Covenants,” and which took effect on January 1, 2020.
On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s prohibition of sex discrimination encompasses discrimination against gay and transgender individuals. Justice Neil Gorsuch authored the 6-3 majority opinion and was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Justice Elena Kagan.
On May 14, 2020, the Washington State Department of Health, in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, created new emergency COVID-19-related safety rules that farms must implement if they provide temporary farmworker housing.
Most readers are likely now familiar with the initial travel guidance for international travel issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Since then, governors have taken the lead in issuing orders related to COVID-19 for, among other things, closing businesses, mandating citizens stay home, and only permitting essential businesses to operate. Along with those orders, many have issued guidance related to quarantines for out-of-state travelers, including those who have only traveled domestically within the United States. Many of these orders are expressly aimed at discouraging interstate travel other than for essential services.
On May 4, 2020, Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued Proclamation 20-25.3, extending Washington’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation, which was set to expire on May 4, 2020, to May 31, 2020. The governor’s office also released Washington’s Safe Start plan, detailing a four-phase approach to reopen the state in three-week intervals, which may be adjusted depending on various risk indicators.
Washington State recently issued new protections for workers who are at “high risk” of severe illness or death from COVID-19. The protections, created by Governor Jay Inslee’s Proclamation 20-46, affect both essential businesses and nonessential businesses expecting to reopen between April 13 and June 12, 2020, when the emergency proclamation expires, unless it is lawfully extended in accordance with Washington’s emergency powers laws.
On March 19, 2020, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law Washington House of Representatives Bill 2602 (HB 2602), which amends the Washington Law Against Discrimination to include a definition of “race.”
New legislation recently introduced in the Washington State Legislature seeks to implement a 32-hour workweek for nonexempt Washington-based workers.
On May 8, 2019, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed new restrictions on noncompetition covenants for Washington employees. The new restrictions are effective January 1, 2020.
On May 9, 2019, Washington State governor Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1696, “an act relating to wage and salary information.” The new law is similar to legislation being promulgated throughout the country, including by Washington’s neighbor to the south, Oregon. This law will become effective on July 28, 2019.
After several years of failed attempts, the state of Washington passed a law on April 17, 2019 that will significantly limit the enforceability of noncompetition agreements under Washington law. Governor Jay Inslee has not yet signed the act into law, but it is expected that Governor Inslee will promptly do so.
Although the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) has yet to finalize the new annual salary required for exempt status, it intends to propose a new salary basis test that would more than double the current federal salary threshold.
On June 12, 2018, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee issued an executive order that directs Washington agencies to favor government contractors that do not require employees to submit to individual arbitration of claims.
Washington recently passed a law limiting discovery of medical records and other medical information for discrimination claims brought under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD). The law went into effect on June 7, 2018.
In response to the #MeToo movement, lawmakers in several states are introducing bills aimed at curbing workplace sexual harassment and addressing how complaints and resolutions are handled by employers. Washington is no exception, and the Washington state Legislature has passed three bills focused on new laws relating to sexual harassment.
The City of Spokane, Washington, recently enacted Ordinance No. C-35564, making Spokane the second municipality (joining Seattle) in Washington state to “ban the box.”
With Washington State’s paid sick leave law taking effect on January 1, 2018, Washington employers should be prepared to implement statewide policies in addition to policies covering employees in SeaTac, Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma. However, employers should not overlook changes to the Seattle Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance that were adopted on December 15, 2017.
Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries has now concluded its process for drafting and finalizing the regulations for implementing Washington’s paid sick leave law, which becomes effective on January 1, 2018. Now employers can finish drafting legally compliant paid sick leave policies. The complementary enforcement regulations are still a work in progress and are not expected to be finalized until at least mid-December 2017.
The new Washington state Healthy Starts Act requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide accommodations to pregnant employees above and beyond those accommodations required by other available laws, including the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). Some of the required accommodations must be provided without medical certification and regardless of whether such accommodations would create an undue hardship.
With Governor Inslee’s signature on July 5, 2017, Washington State joined just a handful of states mandating paid family and medical leave. Washington’s leave is funded by both employers and employees, and employees will be eligible to receive benefits beginning in 2020.
With all of the votes counted, Initiative 1433, which will raise the minimum wage and require paid sick leave throughout Washington, has passed by a fairly wide margin. The first substantial increase in the minimum wage begins on January 1, 2017, while the paid sick leave requirement goes into effect on January 1, 2018. Here are the key details about both the minimum wage increase and the paid sick leave requirements.
After months of heated debate, Kansas City, Missouri’s City Council voted to incrementally increase the minimum wage in Kansas City, Missouri over time from the current state-mandated $7.65 per hour to $13.00 per hour in 2020. The first incremental increase takes effect on August 24, 2015, and increases the minimum wage to $8.50 per hour—an $0.85 per hour increase.
In keeping with the “ban the box” legislative trend, the Columbia City Council unanimously passed a “ban the box” ordinance on December 1, 2014. The ordinance, which went into effect immediately, prohibits public and private employers operating in the City of Columbia from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history in any way prior to making